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Soccer-‘Absurd’ to play twice in four days given COVID, says Liverpool’s Lijnders – Metro US

Soccer-‘Absurd’ to play twice in four days given COVID, says Liverpool’s Lijnders

Premier League – Liverpool v Leicester City
Premier League – Liverpool v Leicester City

(Reuters) – Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders said on Tuesday that it was “absurd” that Liverpool have to play two games in four days given the number of COVID-19 cases and injuries at the club.

The Anfield side drew 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in the league and will face Leicester City at home on Wednesday in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

Both the Premier League and English Football League announced on Monday that fixtures during the busy festive period will go ahead as planned despite the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“We always make our recommendations and give our honest opinion to improve the quality of the game. This is what we did in (Monday’s) meeting. We love the intensity but we all have to respect recovery,” Lijnders told reporters.

“We think it is absurd we have to play after 48 hours. It’s a much higher risk of injury… You’ll have to ask the teams why they want to play. With the COVID cases being this fresh, it’d make sense to have more time before the next game.”

Lijnders added that the Premier League should seek the advice of scientists and doctors on fixture postponements instead of discussing it with club executives.

“For me the experts are not the managers. For me the experts are the scientists and the doctors. And we should follow their guidelines… The Premier League should ask them — not the CEOs, not the managers,” he said.

Liverpool will be without centre back Virgil van Dijk plus midfielders Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho and Curtis Jones against Leicester after they returned positive tests last week, while striker Divock Origi will miss out through injury.

“It’s still the same. They aren’t in the building and are at home. We will not rush them back, we will take our time,” said Lijnders, adding that it was an opportunity for youngsters in the squad to make their mark.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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